Coq Au Vin Recipe

coq au vin

A rustic french classic, this coq au vin recipe is as one could describe, original 'comfort' food. Chicken, mushroom, herbs, bacon, and onions all simmered in red wine... you can't go wrong! This classic has been a mainstay for the french and others for centuries. . .

. . . variations even tracing all the way back to Julius Caesar!

I mentioned chicken just now as one of the essential ingredients, but it is of note that a 100% authentic coq au vin recipe would traditionally call for a rooster instead of a hen.

The reason for this is because they're generally tougher and have more connective tissues, which result in a richer, more supple broth after prolonged, moist cooking.

All things considered, thought, chicken will do just fine! ;D

The next best thing about this coq au vin recipe, other than being wonderfully delicious, is that it is a one pot meal! That's right, the whole thing can be accomplished by using one large pot!

Ok, let's get started by gathering our ingredients. For this recipe, which will serve 4 or 5, we will need:

  • 1 large stewing chicken, about 6 lbs and cut up into portions.
    Tip: If you're not too great at cutting up a whole chicken, you can easily substitute a pack of bone-in thighs. Chicken thighs are well suited for longer cooking times because they do not get dry and stringy like chicken breast. This is because they have a slightly higher fat content, and are a "harder working" muscle, but more on that elsewhere...
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2" strips
  • 1/2 lb. crimini (which are actually baby portabellos) or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups pearl onions, peeled
    Tip: To peel these precious pearls for our coq au vin recipe (or for any other for that matter), the simplest method is to cut a small X into the root end of each onion with a paring knife, and then drop them into 3 cups of boiling water. Let them simmer for a few minutes and then drain and cool them. Now the papery skins should just slide off. Now, if this all sounds like too much work, just use a couple cups of large chopped yellow onion instead!
  • 2 medium ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 2 bottles of red wine, any table red will do, just nothing too heavy like syrah.
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 stick of butter

    1. Heat your large, heavy skillet or dutch oven (now's the time to break out the le creuset!) over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook till browned. Remove the bacon pieces from the pan and set aside, leaving the rendered bacon grease in the pot.
    2. Coat the chicken pieces in flour that has been seasoned with salt, shaking off excess. Brown the pieces of chicken in the pot or dutch oven on all sides using tongs to turn them. Remove golden browned pieces and set aside.
    3. Now add all the vegetables, herbs and a spices, except the chopped parsley to the pot and saute, stirring frequently, until they all have become slightly cooked and very fragrant. This will take about 5 minutes.
    4. Once the aromatics have been "sweated" (the term for lightly cooked and fragrant!), return the bacon bits and chicken pieces to the pot, pour over them the 2 bottles of wine and chicken stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
    5. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes. When the time has elapsed, the chicken should be tender enough to pull away from the bone when forked. At this point, you want to remove the cooked chicken pieces from the pot, transferring them to a casserole dish or nice platter.
    6. Lastly, we want to simmer the cooking liquid a little longer just to thicken it up that last bit, for say 5 minutes more. After, turn off the heat and add the chopped parsley and butter.
      Tip: Stirring the butter into the sauce at the very end is a classic french technique called "Monté Au Beurre", which when translated means to "mount with butter", thus we are "mounting" the sauce. What happens when whisking whole butter into a warm, finished sauce is that the sauce will become slightly thicker and develop a luxuriant sheen to it, making it not only a bit richer, but more appealing to the eye too!
    7. Serve the chicken with rice or roasted potatoes and a generous ladling of sauce, and this coq au vin recipe is complete!

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